In life there are bound to be times of failure and disappointment; children need to know this and appreciate that these issues cannot be escaped. If not dealt with properly, though, they can have negative effects on a child’s psyche and self-esteem. In order to help children to cope, it is necessary to let them to face the reality of the situation, express their feelings and extract the positives and lessons learnt by the experience.
Children can become disappointed with or failed by, someone, situations, or themselves. Whatever the case, they must learn to own those feelings and express them. Let them speak about the situation, what they liked and what they did not, so that they can understand why they feel the way they do. Help them to be able to describe the feelings, and once they are out in the open they can be dealt with.
- Help them to write down, if necessary, some of the positive things that have come out of the event. Perhaps if a friend has betrayed their trust and left them disappointed, it would be good for them to recall the good times they had during the friendship and appreciate that relationships do not always turn out the way you wish.
- Help them to channel those feelings of disappointment and failure into positive reactions.
- Let them come up with ways in which they might deal with the situation. This will let them realize that they are capable of taking responsibility and coming up with a plan to deal with an event that they did not like.
- Encourage them to continue to believe in themselves. There are times when self-doubt will set in if a child has been unable to do a task successfully. Try to help them to understand why they might have failed; perhaps it was a case that they did not try hard enough or they might not have been capable of doing the task in the first place. Whatever the reason, let them understand that they are not failures.
- Point out other areas in which they are gifted and do well. If it is something they will have to do again, show them where they might have erred in going about the task.
- Use this as an opportunity to explain to your child the need to have realistic expectations of themselves and others. Having unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and frustration.
Be very loving and supportive and help your child to choose to find happiness. It is important for them to learn how to choose positive emotions and help themselves to move forward. There will be many times when they will face disappointment or failure, and if they are not given the skills to deal with them, they will be unable to cope. Learning to acknowledge and own their feelings will help them to be able to face situations and recognize that they are able to change the outcomes by their reaction.